“If I must go, die at 27…”

Those words are part of Machine Gun Kelly’s song “27” from his 2017 album Bloom. This post isn’t full of roses and sunshine so if you don’t want to hear more fears from a stranger, then please keep moving. I won’t be offended, I promise you. I just had some things that I needed to say and in the midst of journaling, I realized that my hand couldn’t move the pen because the pen wasn’t ready to say what needed to be said. However, a keyboard understands what needs to be said.

Lately, I have been struggling with the reality of my own mortality. With coronavirus wiping out over 128,000 Americans, I am fearful of asking the question, “Will it get me too? Will this be the thing that kills me?” My aunt died when she was 27 – from her chemotherapy treatments, of all things. I was 14 years old when she passed and since that day, I have had this gnawing feeling deep within me that I wouldn’t see 28 either. What if I am fated to a similar doom? These are the thoughts that I can’t quiet in my brain. This is the very real reason that I cannot sleep at night, why I don’t leave my house – ever – anymore, and it’s exactly the reason why I am terrified of being around people.

I’m anxious. I’m scared. I’m sad.

I wish that I could live like some people are and just go through life pretending the disease doesn’t exist. I’d give anything to sit on a beach with my feet buried beneath the hot sand and listen to the waves crashing on the shore, but I can’t. I can barely bring myself to get into my mother’s car and go for a quick ride while she runs an errand. Some days it feels like I can’t breathe because I feel the bedroom walls closing in on me. I want to visit my friends – especially the ones in Connecticut, but I have thought about all the ways that I could get there and none of them are safe in the end. I was supposed to go for driving lessons this summer and take my road test so now I have no license and no car still. At least, with a car, I could have driven there and back and it would be just me in an enclosed space.

In my last post, I mentioned that my best friend is moving. All I want is to see him, in person and hug him because his hugs can fix anything. He makes me feel safe and right now, I don’t feel very safe and hugging has become strictly verboten in society. The thought of hugging him and it harming one of us makes me queasy because that means I’m no longer safe. I miss feeling safe. He keeps offering to hang out with me because he knows that I haven’t gone anywhere, but being near him might be more dangerous than not. I think I will just continue avoiding him. At the beginning of this week, he sent out an invitation to his going away party for early August. I was considering responding yes because when he asks me to go somewhere or do something with him, I never need to think about it. I always say yes. I’m torn, now, because I had to reply maybe because responding with a yes could mean the difference between life and death.

I wanted to say yes, and I was going to change the answer from maybe to yes, but then I read about a man who went to a party where someone attended, knowing they were showing symptoms of the virus. The man – the one who thought it was safe because he did everything he was supposed to and thought it was safe – he died because he was obese and he contracted the virus from this person. People who are obese are in a higher risk category. So now, my maybe has to be a no and my friend is going to leave, and I won’t get to say goodbye in person because this virus is destroying everything good in the world. So please…wear your masks, do you part by socially distancing yourself, wash your hands often, and just do your part. I am, and so should you.

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